Hastings on Food

2015-09-03 06:00

SALUTATIONS ewes and rams. Have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

We choose to eat red meat simply because it is delicious as well as being good for us.

It is rich in nutrients and the protein is crucial for the regulation and maintenance of the body, the magnesium is important in combating diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. The selenium protects against cancer- forming agents as well as the development of heart disease.

The iron is essential for many biochemical processes, including the regulation of cell growth and oxygen transportation.

Today consumers are realising the value of fresh meat. We are trusting more the locally produced products and purchasing with confidence.

Studies have proven that South African­ lamb and mutton are, apart from being tasty, is very healthy.

On average our lamb contains 10 % less fat and contributes significantly to our bodies requirements of proteins and vitamins.

Over 80% of South African sheep graze naturally in open fields and 95% of all carcasses are classified by independent­ qualified meat classifiers at the abattoirs enabling the consumer to select meat cuts according to preference.

The class code is based on the age, fatness and several other factors.

The visible coloured ink marks are entirely harmless as they are made from vegetable dyes which fade during the cooking process. The A or AB class signifies a young and tender cut, while the B class is suitable for stews and curries. At the Wild Coast we process full lamb carcasses and as I am a firm believer in using the entire animal, I normally buy A2 class as it is suitable for all our needs from roasting to stews and curries. I find that this class is juicier and has less fat than the A1 class.

The lamb carcass is made up of the neck, shoulder, thick rib, rib, breast, loin, flank, chump, leg, and shanks.

In South Africa our world-famous lamb hails from the Karoo, which in essence, is defined by its spacious horizons, uneven hills, making it somewhat alien in appearance, yet comparable to the Wild West.

It expands over 400 000 square kilometres, making it, to some extent larger than Germany. The name Karoo has an uncertain meaning, but is thought to originate from a Khoi word meaning the “land of thirst”.

With 6 000 different plant species of which 40% are endemic, it is recognised as one of the world’s biodiversity hot spots.

Although often celebrated, the timeless quality of the Karoo is constantly changing, today it supplies South Africa with a third of our red meat needs, the quality of the lamb has developed so prestigiously it is now recognised worldwide with certification as a regional food of origin alongside others such as Parma ham and champagne.

Sustaining its economy are its roughly seven million sheep with about four million of them being the wool-bearing merinos. There are also about a million goats spread out through the plains of the Karoo.

South Africa produces 45 million kilograms of wool annually of which 15 million comes from the Karoo which also produces, from Angora goats, all of our annual mohair requirements which at 2,5 million kilograms is about 60% of the world’s annual requirements. As most of the wool and mohair is exported it generates billions in foreign revenue for our beautiful country.

Today the agriculture in the Karoo has broadened to include newer ventures such as pomegranates, olives, pecan nuts, berries, A grade lucerne and walnuts.

Additionally certain locally produced cheeses, olive oils and unique items like kudu salami are becoming more prevail ant at food festivals held in towns like Bedford, Cradock and Prince Albert.

The Karoo, thanks to its clear skies, low development concentrations, and wide open spaces, also takes pride in having one of the world’s leading science­ projects - namely the radio telescopes­ and star observatories. This has in turn brought cutting-edge technology to the area and people are semi-grating from the cities to the Platteland­.

And its fleece was as white as snow.


Lamb shanks


• Rio Largo olive oil

• 4 lamb shanks

• 3 red onions chopped

• chopped garlic

• 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

• 6 pieces star aniseed

• 2 cinnamon sticks

• 1 teaspoon mixed spice ground

• 6 tablespoons brown sugar

• 500 ml lamb stock


• In the olive oil, fry the shanks till browned on each side

• Add the onions and garlic and cook till soft

• Add the spices and sugar

• Transfer to a deep oven proof dish

• Add the lamb stock

• Add couple dashes of balsamic vinegar

• Add the red wine till the sides cover to half the shanks

• Cover with tin foil

• Place in oven on 180°C

• Check after one hour if meat is tender and coming off the bone

• Serve

Lamb roast with lemon and herbs

• 2,5 kg lamb leg tunnel boned (ask your butcher )

• Khoisan sea salt

• Rainbow pepper

• dried thyme

• grated rind of 3 lemons

• chopped garlic

• lemon juice

• fresh rosemary

• mint jelly

• rosemary

• olive oil


• Remember always season meat with wet ingredients first as you don’t want to wash off the dry.

• In the tunnel cavity place some chopped garlic, grated rind, rosemary, and mint jelly

• Mix some lemon juice with the rind ,olive oil and garlic

• Coat over the whole outside of the lamb

• Now rub in some dry spices

• Place in a oven dish

• Preheat the oven to 160°C

• Roast for about 1½ hours

• During roasting turn the meat and coat with more olive oil if it looks too dry

Lamb potjie curry


• 1 kg of cubed lamb

• 5 sweet potatoes cubed

• 800 grams of tinned tomatoes

• 2 red onions chopped

• cumin

• dried coriander

• chilies chopped

• garam masala

• 2 bay leaves

• ½ teaspoon turmeric

• chopped Ginger

• chopped garlic

• cChopped coriander

• Rio Largo olive oil

• Khoisan sea salt

• Rainbow pepper


• Blend the tomatoes

• Dry fry the spices

• Add the oil and onions

• Add the meat

• Let it briefly boil then turn down to simmer till tender

• Add the sweet potatoes and cook through

• Add the coriander and serve.

In South Africa our world-famous lamb hails from the Karoo, which in essence, is defined by its spacious horizons, uneven hills, making it somewhat alien in appearance, yet comparable to the Wild West

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